Buran or Puran, or more correctly, Burandokht or Purandokht (Persian: بوراندخت), was the daughter of King Khosrau II of Persia (590–628). She was one of only two women on the throne of the Sassanid dynasty (the other was her sister and successor Azarmidokht). She was the twenty-sixth Sassanid monarch of Persia, reigning from 630 to 631. When Purandokht ascended to the throne after the murder of the general Shahrbaraz, who killed her nephew Ardashir III, she attempted to bring stability to the empire. This stability was brought about by a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire, the revitalization of the empire through the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and ‘minting coins’.
She was largely unsuccessful in her attempts to restore the power of the central authority which was weakened considerably by civil wars, and was murdered or died of natural causes soon after.
Ferdowsi refers to Purandokht in his epic poem, the Shahnameh. She was committed to reviving the memory and prestige of her father, during whose reign the Sassanid Empire had grown to its largest territorial extent. [Wikipedia]
It is said… that Queen Purandokht was fond of yogurt, and her chef made her many dishes with drained yogurt and vegetables. These dishes were called Pourani after her, and in time Pourani came to be known as Borani.
There are many kinds of Borani in Persian cooking, such as bademjan (eggplant), esfenaj (spinach), kadu (zucchini), karafs (celery), and labu (red beet). This post focuses on how to make spinach Borani.
Yogurt and Spinach Dip / Borani’e Esfenaj
2 cups plain Greek yogurt, or yogurt of choice
8oz (230gr) spinach
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (to caramelize the onion)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion (3 oz / 80 gr), thinly sliced and caramelized -or- 1 Tbsp caramelized onion)
1 small clove garlic, crushed and mashed
½ tsp salt
smidgen turmeric -or- few drops of dissolved saffron (both optional)
black pepper to taste
- In a medium-size pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. First add a pinch of salt and then add spinach. As soon as the spinach wilts (less than a minute), drain it in a colander. Let the cooked spinach sit for a while to drain.
- In a non-stick skillet, add 2 Tbsp oil and heat oil on medium. Add cut onion and caramelize. Spoon out a teaspoonful of caramelized onion for garnish and set aside.
- Add mashed garlic to caramelized onion in the skillet, stir a little, add drained spinach stir and sautee for one minute. Put spinach mixture in a heat-resistant, small serving bowl and set to cool in the refrigerator. (If using already made caramelized onion, heat one tsp of extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic, mix for 5 seconds, add the spinach and stir for 1~2 minute and set to cool.) If adding turmeric, add while stirring the spinach.
- Add yogurt, salt and pepper to the spinach mixture and mix. Garnish with a teaspoonful of caramelized onion that was set aside, and refrigerate until ready to use.
If using dissolved saffron drops, drop it on the top (decoration) before refrigeration.